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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91064 Find in a Library
Title: Police Attitudes Toward the Judicial System
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:11  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1983)  Pages:290-295
Author(s): P J Crawford; T J Crawford
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Samples of police officers, fire fighters, and college students were compared in their attitude toward judges, cynicism about the fairness of the courts, 'law and order' beliefs that legal constraints on police procedures should be reduced or eliminated, and the belief that allowing the guilty to go free is a more serious error than punishing the innocent.
Abstract: A total of 127 of 188 randomly selected male police officers in a large west coast city returned the mail questionnaire, and 115 of 157 randomly selected firemen from the same city returned their questionnaires, while 82 of 113 questionnaires mailed to randomly selected male college students were returned. The police were found to be more favorable than either firemen or students toward eliminating procedural restrictions that hamper crime control effectiveness, even if eliminating such restrictions reduces the suspect's constitutional rights. Judging by the changes they advocate in procedural restrictions, it appears that the police believe that the present criminal justice system impedes the adequate control of crime; but in this particular sample, police crime control values do not generalize in the form of a distinctive antipathy toward judges. The police were not only the group most favorable toward 'the average judge' but were also the least cynical of the three groups about the fairness of the courts. Police are similar to the other groups in their beliefs that the risk of punishing the innocent is more serious than the risk of letting the guilty go free. Thus, while the police were unusually strong supporters of crime control values, they are also supportive of due process values while being unusually positive in their evaluations of judges and the courts. Tabular data and 15 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Judges; Police attitudes; Police legal limitations
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